US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo To Keynote Florida Conservative Christian Event, Raising Ethical And Legal Questions – CBS Miami

MIAMI (CNN) — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is slated to keynote a gala occasion for a conservative Christian group in Florida — an look that comes a month earlier than Election Day and will violate authorized and moral pointers.

Not solely is the highest US diplomat marketed because the featured visitor on the Florida Family Policy Council’s fifteenth Anniversary Gala on October 3, a “personal visit with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo” is included with a $10,000 desk sponsorship. Tickets to a VIP reception that includes Pompeo are included in $5,000 and $3,000 desk sponsorships and $500 VIP tickets, in line with the group.

This may very well be a breach of federal laws, in line with Don Fox, former appearing director and basic counsel for the US Office of Government Ethics (OGE).

“There is a provision in federal regulations that prohibits executive branch employees from misusing their office for private gain, and that includes the private gain of any other entity to include in a non for profit,” mentioned Fox.

“If Pompeo were speaking at, you can imagine, any other kind of gala event, and basically anybody could just buy a ticket at general admission, that would be one thing,” Fox defined.

“But when there is a premium placed on personal access to the secretary, I think that does cross a line in terms of ethics restrictions, because now you’re buying personal access to a cabinet member, and that goes for the benefit of this non for profit organization and doesn’t matter what the non for profit is,” he mentioned.

“The line that’s crossed is this is actually buying personal access to him,” Fox instructed CNN.

Beyond the query about paid entry, Fox mentioned there’s additionally the matter of whether or not talking at a selected occasion aligns with the secretary of state’s mission.

“There is sort of an appearance question that he and his staff and frankly the ethics staff ought to kind of weigh about — is this in the best interest of the Department of State, and the United States government to appear in an event like this,” he mentioned, including that “the appearance of any kind of impropriety” elements into whether or not the invitation needs to be accepted in any respect.

“It’s a little hard to imagine what this organization’s legitimate interests are in US foreign policy,” Fox mentioned, noting that if he have been the highest US diplomat’s ethics adviser, he’d query whether or not Pompeo ought to take part.

According to its web site, the mission of the Florida Family Policy Council (FPPC) is “To Protect and Defend Life, Marriage, Family and Liberty Through Education, Advocacy and Empowerment.” It is anti-abortion and argues that “(r)eligious liberty around the country is being threatened by radical LGBT activists who will not stop until they force all Americans to approve, support and celebrate their lifestyle.”

FPPC says it “is one of 38 state-based policy councils around the country associated with Focus on the Family, Alliance Defending Freedom and Family Research Council.” Pompeo spoke on Tuesday with the Family Research Council’s President Tony Perkins on the conservative Values Voters Summit. He has addressed a quantity of occasions specializing in faith and has been outspoken about his private spiritual beliefs throughout his tenure as secretary of state.

The State Department didn’t reply to questions on Pompeo’s involvement within the group’s anniversary gala. CNN has additionally reached out to FPPC in regards to the high US diplomat’s participation.

The FPPC occasion is strictly one month forward of Election Day and is Pompeo’s second look in a battleground state in nearly as many weeks.

Fox mentioned the proximity to the presidential election is “a background that you can’t ignore.”

Pompeo has shattered previous precedent of secretaries of state largely avoiding the home political fray, and violated his personal State Department laws by talking to the Republican National Convention.

On Wednesday, he met with enterprise leaders and lawmakers and delivered remarks within the Wisconsin state senate. The State Department defended it as “an important policy speech to the Wisconsin State Senate on why state legislators across our country must be vigilant against the Chinese Communist Party’s malign influence at the subnational level.”

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